Volume 33 Number 65
                 Produced: Wed Sep 27  6:00:09 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Aleynu's Censored Phrase
         [Sharon and Joseph Kaplan]
Artscroll Gemorah
         [Chaim Shapiro]
Giving Tzedaka to Yeshivot
         [Moshe and davida Nugiel]
A Mesorah of Kashruth - Chalav Yisroel & Glatt Kosher
         [Carl M. Sherer]
         [Alan Rubin]
Number of Seconds in a Year
         [Sheldon Meth]
Science in Gemara
         [Ahron Wolf]
         [Michael and Abby Pitkowsky]
Why do some masoretic explanations appear simpler than others
         [Russell Hendel]
Why we don't wear Tfillin
         [Chaim Mateh]


From: Sharon and Joseph Kaplan <penkap@...>
Date: Thu, 21 Sep 2000 09:43:39 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Aleynu's Censored Phrase

Jerome Parness claims that the fact the no one in the Modern Orthodox
communities in the 50's and 60's recited the censored phrase was because
"no one, other than scholars of old Hebrew texts, knew anything about
the existence of this phrase."  That is simply not true; even I, as a
teenager and certainly no Hebrew text scholar, knew of it. And certainly
the compilers and editors of our siddurin and machzors knew of it and
intentionally left it out.  Even my grandfather's Rav Ya'akov Emden
siddur (which now graces my bookshelves) omits it.

He also implies that the phrase refers only to avoda zara, and points to
the fact that it was composed before the existence of Christianity and
Islam. But that fact simply means that originally it referred only to
avoda zara; nothing in the phrase itsef says or implies that.  Indeed,
the preceeding phrase, which defines who the "heim" (they) are in the
"shehim" does not mention avoda zara.  Rather, it refers to the "nations
of the worlds" and the "famalies of the land"; categories that
Christianity and Islam certainly fall into.  I don't see how my reading
of the simple words of these few sentences in Aleynu is a
"misinterpretation" of that text.

And finally, if the omitted phrase is limited solely to avoda zara, even
though it doesn't say so, I am left with two questions: (1) Shouldn't
something be added to the text to make that clear and prevent
"misinterpretations," by both enemies of the Jews in the middle ages and
Jews like myself in the 21st century, of a text that, if it referes only
to avoda zara, is, at the very least, ambiguous and open to such
misinterpretations?, and (2) if it doesn't apply to our friends and
neighbors of other religions, and applies only to those who, in the
past, worshipped avoda zara, why revive it now? if so many of our
ancestors were able to properly daven without reciting this phrase, i'm
quite sure that our teffilot will not suffer if we continued to follow
in their footsteps.

Joseph C. Kaplan


From: Chaim Shapiro <Dagoobster@...>
Date: Thu, 21 Sep 2000 18:23:30 EDT
Subject: Artscroll Gemorah

I must admit that I am torn on the concept of the Artscroll gemorahs.
Yes, the Artscroll gemorah opens the beauty of our Talmud to those who
otherwise would be unable to access it (perhaps it opens it a little too
wide, as I have now seen J 4 J missionaries quoting Gemorah they learned
from Artscroll).  The amount of Torah learned because of these new
Gemorah editions is immeasurable.

However, I must wonder if these Gemorahs are detrimental to real
Talmudic scholarship.  First of all, using the Artscroll only, one
cannot look up what the myriad of meforshim listed in the back of
standard Gemorahs have to add to any given issue.  While Pshat can
normally be correctly interpreted in many different ways, using the
Artscroll, one is limited to the way the Artscroll learns the subject.

What's worse, I must admit, the ease of the Artscroll is a very tempting
"crutch" to lean on when one does not want to spend the time figuring
out a Gemorah on his own.  In fact, my Chavrusah and I have agreed to
use regular Gemorahs and only refer to the Artscroll if we are
absolutely, positively stuck and going nowhere.  Otherwise the
simplicity of the Artscroll is too tempting, and I for one, find my eyes
drifting toward the English even in a Sugya that we can decipher
ourselves with enough effort.

It bothers me that I went into a bookstore today to purchase the new
Meshichtah I am staring to find the Artscroll in ample supply, but not a
single copy of the standard edition.  And this is a popular Meshichtah
(Baba Metziha)!  It bothers to hear stories from yeshivot where the
entire Freshman class brought Artscroll gemorahs for the first day of
yeshiva, not the standard Gemorahs!

I have to wonder, have we, in a worthwhile and admirable attempt to open
Talmud study to all, decreased true scholarship?

Chaim Shapiro


From: Moshe and davida Nugiel <friars@...>
Date: Wed, 20 Sep 2000 23:48:56 +0200
Subject: Giving Tzedaka to Yeshivot

A question about giving tzdaka:

The Rambam in Hilchot Talmud Torah, Perek 3 Halacha 10, makes it
abundantly clear that it is forbidden to foresake working for a living
while choosing instead to learn Torah and allow oneself to be supported
by Tzedaka.

The Kesef Mishne finds it necessary to explain the flaunting of the
Rambam's ruling which was occuring in his day [16th Century].  The Kesef
Mishne holds that his was a time of extraordinary need--"sha'ah
ha'd'chak."  He holds that there was a danger of Torah knowledge being
lost if Torah learning was not supported by the public coffers.  The
question is, are we still in a "sha'ah ha'd'chak?"  I.e., what justifies
nowadays having able bodied young (and not so young) men making their
living off of tzedaka?  It seems that in our time, thank God, Torah
learning will not be lost if many, or most, of these men learned part
time and worked part time.

I, for one, do not understand how yeshivot can even ask for tzedaka
money while there are people who are hungry out there.  Unfortunately,
most of the poskim are also rosh'e yeshiva, and so are nogea b'davar
[not objective].  Who will stand up and set our priorities right?

Moshe Nugiel


From: Carl M. Sherer <cmsherer@...>
Date: Wed, 20 Sep 2000 15:18:50 +0200
Subject: A Mesorah of Kashruth - Chalav Yisroel & Glatt Kosher

Carl Singer writes:

> With Glatt Kosher -- there no longer seems to be a reliable / available
> / convenient supply chain for kosher (but not Glatt) meat -- the metziah
> has changed, to where Glatt Kosher is essentially synonymous with
> "reliable" kosher, I personnally know of not even a single organization
> that supplies (non-Glatt) kosher meat that anyone in the Orthodox
> community uses (correct me if I'm wrong.)  

Much of the Kosher meat sold in Israel is Kosher but not glatt. 

Carl M. Sherer
mailto:<cmsherer@...>  or mailto:sherer@actcom.co.il
Please daven and learn for a Refuah Shleima for my son, Baruch Yosef ben
Adina Batya among the sick of Israel.  Thank you very much.


From: Alan Rubin <arubin@...>
Date: Wed, 20 Sep 2000 10:18:44 +0100
Subject: Molad

Thank you to Mike Gerver for his helpful reply to my question about 
Molad.  He said

> It's true that this often results in Rosh Chodesh falling earlier than
> it would have at the time when witnesses were used to establish Rosh
> Chodesh.  But there is no way to avoid that in a fixed calendar.

The result of this will be that in Israel people are eating chametz at a
time when, had Rosh Chodesh been fixed using witnesses it would still be
regarded as Pesach.  This seems to be a remarkable example to show how
the practice of even the most stringent of commandments can be altered
by Bes Din.  Could this be used as an argument for suggesting that
people in Israel keep two days of Yom Tov?

Alan Rubin


From: Sheldon Meth <SHELDON.Z.METH@...>
Date: Wed, 20 Sep 2000 07:52:39 -0400
Subject: Number of Seconds in a Year

In response to my observation that the number of seconds in a year is
ten million times Pi to <0.5%, Stan Tenen writes:

"Therefore, it seems to me that we should be suspicious of gematria in
general -- which was the point of my posting -- and triply suspicious of
numerical coincidences"

 ...which is precisely why I made *my* post.  

Although, I might argue about the relative level of suspicion, and
whether, to a maimin [believer], there is such a thing as coincidence.

In answer to Carl Singer, who writes:

"Are you asserting that this is anything more than a coincidence?"



From: Ahron Wolf <awolf@...>
Date: Thu, 21 Sep 2000 17:40:38 -0400
Subject: Science in Gemara

We must distinguish between Halacha and scientific knowledge. Even
though in regard to halachik matters we may hold that halacha is
determined by the gemaras scientific knowledge, for instance in the case
of bleeding gums mentioned above, this does not mean that in reality the
science is incorrect. Chazal have a right to determine the halacha based
on the knowledge of their times and since we all accept the authority of
the Talmud Bavli for halacha, as the Rambam explains in his intro to the
Yad, we cannot deviate from these rulings. However you cant expect me to
believe that the refuas mentioned in maseches gitin have any worth in



From: Michael and Abby Pitkowsky <pitab@...>
Date: Wed, 20 Sep 2000 12:50:16 +0200
Subject: shafan/arnevet

I came across an article written by Prof. Yehudah Felix for Bar-Ilan's
parshat hashavuah series on the identification of shafan and arnevet.
Prof.  Felix says that they have been misidentified.  In reality the
shafan has an anatomical similarity to ruminants and the arnevit a
physiological one.

I suggest reading his piece at:

Michael Pitkowsky


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 17 Sep 2000 00:02:07 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Why do some masoretic explanations appear simpler than others

In v33n57 Ben  continues the thread on Full-Defectively spelled words in
the Bible. Recall that I had given a simple grammatical rule for explaining
such words. Ben succinctly explains how he feels

>>There are about 5,000 kri/ketiv variations, many of which deal with
defective spellings.  In many instances the same passage that appears in
more than one location in Tanach has different kri/ketiv (a famous example
is magdil/migdol before the last paragraph of birchat hamazon which appears
in II Samuel and Psalms 18).  I don't see how any theory can take all of
these into account>>(Ben refers to 2Sam22:51 vs Psalms18:51)

Thus Bens question is (rephrased) "How can any rule explain 5000 problems".

I think answering this is important since a great deal of talmudic and recent
acharonim literature deals with this topic. Let me use the example that
Ben provided (2Sam22:51 vs Psalms 18:51) First: Most students of Talmud
are familiar with the PROCESS-COMPLETION distinction. A trained talmudic
student could easily give SEVERAL 100 examples of this distinction.

Here are 3: (a) Shabbath prohibits PROCESS not COMPLETION--hence you can
prepare the chulund beforehand and eat it on shabbat. (b) Learning is a
commandment of PROCESS not COMPLETION--hence if you spent 5 hours writing
mail-jewish postings and they all get refuted you have still performed
5 hours of learning. (c) The writing of the DIVORCE DOCUMENT is a commandment
of COMPLETION not of PROCESS--if you spent 5 hours writing a divorce and it
was defective then the divorce was not effectuated.

Since I am aware of several 100 process-completion examples I find it
natural to interpret Ps18:51 vs 2Sam22:51 as "God **is already** the GREATNESS
(MIGDOL) behind our salvations" vs "God **will** magnify(MAGDIL) our
salvations" So quite simply, the historical account in Samuel uses the
"is already the GREATNESS" form while the Psalms written for future
generations uses the "will MAGNIFY " form.

As I said I find this simple, clinchy and flowing---but I only find this
so because I so often see PROCESS-COMPLETION distinctions. Someone else
who is NOT use to seeing such distinctions may find this whole explanation

So Bottom line: I think constant legal studying gives us the experiential
awareness needed to cope with the several hundred (not thousand) spellings.
However if a person is untrained or not use to such distinctions then I
agree with Ben, they will probably find such explanations homiletic.

So the solution is to believe that there are explanations and that they
can be appreciated thru continual study.

Russell Jay Hendel;Phd ASA
Dept of Math; Towson Univ
Moderator Rashi is Simple


From: Chaim Mateh <chaimm@...>
Date: Mon, 18 Sep 2000 18:59:11 +0200
Subject: Why we don't wear Tfillin

In vol 33#41, I had written:

<<AFAIK, we need also guf noki (clean body) when wearing Tfillin, which
means that even passing gas is considered guf not noki.  Since we cannot
prevent such things for long periods of time (how they did it in days gone
by, I dunno), the time of Tfillin wearing was restricted to the short
period of morning davening. >>

To which Russell Hendel <rhendel@...> in vol 33#58, replied:

<<I find this reasoning strange and not fully accurate.>> etc etc

I had written my comments from memory.  The exact source is Shulchan
Aruch Orech Chaim 37:2 -- "Their [Tfillin] Mitzvah is to be on him the
entire day.  However, because we need a clean body (guf naki), that he
shouldn't pass gas (shelo yafiach) while wearing them, and that he won't
be distracted (yasiach daato) from them, and not everyone can be careful
in these, they have become accustomed (nahagu) not to put them on the
entire day.  But in any case, each one should take care to wear them
during Kriyas Shma and Tfila".

Mishna Brura, note 5 says regarding wearing Tfillin at least during Shma
and Tfilla, "because during such a short time period, he can easily be
careful from passing gas and from distractions."

In note 7, the MB says that "and that [wearing Tfillin at least during
Shma and Tfilla] is for every man, but for Anshei Maaseh (righteous,
pious?) are accustomed to learn after Tfilla wearing Tfillin...".

Kol Tuv,


End of Volume 33 Issue 65